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Conscientious Objection <email@example.com>
PRESS RELEASE 4th December 1998
EU - Refugees - Kosovo
* * * Prominent lawyers from Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia demand refugee
status for conscientious objectors and deserters fleeing the war in
Yugoslavia * * *
At an international seminar in the European Parliament organised by the
European Bureau for Conscientious Objectors and the
Heinrich-B÷ll-Foundation in Brussels, Mr. Azem Vlasi from Pristina
(Kosovo), Biljana Kovacevic Vuco, President of the Yugoslav Committee for
Human Rights in Belgrade (Serbia), Ranko Krivokapnic MP, Vice-President of
the Socialdemocratic Party in Podgorica (Montenegro) demanded from the
European union to recognise the right of young people to get refugee
status when they refuse to fight in Yugoslav armed forces.
The wars in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo have shown that the
armed service in Yugoslavia can no longer be justified. The Yugoslav army
recently published a call to some 200.000 deserters inside and outside the
country to register again to the military authorities offering them for
this case not to be legally persecuted. "No one will follow this call. On
the contrary - more and more young men are fleeing the country or are sent
abroad by their parents", the advocates explained.
It remains a contradiction of the European Union policy to ban on the one
side Yugoslavia for illegal military actions and to on the other side to
send back young men to the same army because they did not join the armed
services, Dejan Lazic, Yugoslavian jurist in Hamburg stated.
Nenad Canak, MP, President of the Socialdemocratic Liga of Vojvodina
reported about anti-war actions in the first half of this year in his
region calling for the refusal of armed services. His party got some 25%
votes in the last regional elections. "The people in Yugoslavia are
getting tired by the "mad war criminal Slobodan Milosevic" in Belgrade, he said.
He had also publicly called for desertion in the Serbian Parliament.
Azem Vlasi, lawyer in Pristina, imprisoned by the Milosevic regime for 14
months, reported about the massacre in Drenica (Kosovo) where 300 Albans
lived. In the last election the administration claimed that all of them
had voted in favour of the Milosevic regime although none of them had gone to
the ballots. "The regime does not only falsify elections but also kills
those, who had presumably voted for them", he said.
Christof Tannert MEP (Germany/SPD) said that the right for asylum for
conscientious objectors and deserters must become more important on the
European agenda. It is necessary that the European Parliament puts
pressure on the Council to come to human solutions in the members states and to
bring refugee policy and the right of conscientious objection to military
Report were given at the conference also by Brigitte Ernst, Amnesty
International, and by Irene Messinger from the Support Office for Yugoslav
Deserters in Vienna who are getting the UNHCR-Price for their activities
in favour of deserters who have not received legal status in Austria. A
Yugoslav deserter not having received legal status in Germany reported
about his case.
Further information can be obtained from
Sam Biesemans, President of EBCO, MOBILE PHONE/GSM: +32-477 - 268893 or
Gerd Greune, Secretary General of EBCO - MOBILE PHONE/GSM:+32-477 -512734
EBCO - BEOC
European Bureau for Conscientious Objection
Bureau Europ_en de l`Objection de Conscience
35, rue van Elewijck
tel.: +32-2-646.6244 fax: +32-2-640.0774